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Anxious and Stressed

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TazMom
TazMom Member Posts: 11
edited October 2021 in Waiting for Test Results

Hello All,

I just turned 45 years old this month. My doctor had ordered a mammogram in April (my first). Admittedly, I was not excited about this prospect, so I wasn't eager to have it done. When I went to make my appt (July 24), it was a good 3 month wait now that everyone is playing catch up due to Covid. On July 9, I was getting ready for work and discovered a hard lump in my left breast. I immediately contacted my doctor who then sent over an amended RX for a diagnostic mammogram w/ultrasound. I contacted the imaging center to make sure they had the updated order and was told I couldn't keep my July 24 appt because it was a different test with different availability. At first they tried to tell me I would have to wait till September. Fortunately, I was able to get an appt on August 6.

I went in to the mammogram already knowing about the lump in the left breast. I was hoping and praying it would just be a cyst or something simple and be done with it. The tech doing the ultrasound took the images to the radiologist right then and came back to inform me that he wants to do a biopsy of the left breast, but he was sending me back for more images on the right side as well. Needless to say, this sent me into a panic. I wasn't prepared for there to be any issues with the right side. So, I go back to get more images of the right breast and they take it to him for review again. The tech came back and told me that they saw some calcifications that were concerning and that they wanted to do a biopsy of the right breast as well, just to be safe. Now, this could be a good thing or a bad thing depending on how you look at it. I'm a naturally curious person and I like to research. The imaging center I go to has a patient portal where I can see the images and read the radiologists report.

I got a call from my doctor to make sure that the biopsies were scheduled, but told me this is common and I shouldn't worry. A few days later, I check back on the imaging portal and see the radiologists report (that was sent to my doctor) and this is what it said, "Highly suspicious left breast mass and right breast calcifications.", "Ultrasound: Left 2 o'clock 10 cm from the nipple demonstrates a hypoechoic irregular 3.2 x 3.2 x 2.5 cm mass. This is highly suspicious.", "The breasts are extremely dense, which lowers the sensitivity of mammography", and "BI-RADS Category 5: Highly suggestive of malignancy." Unless the radiologist is really bad at his job, I don't see how this could be so common and nothing to worry about. Seems like there could be quite a bit to worry about.

So, I am scheduled for next Tuesday, August 17 to have an ultrasound guided Core biopsy of the left breast and a mammogram guided stereotactic biopsy of the right breast. Then of course after all that I have to wait some more to find out if it's positive for negative. In the meantime, I've been researching (even though people told me not to, but I can't help it) and what I've found does not bode well. I'm equal parts anxious, terrified, and stressed out about all of it. I work full time and take care of my mom who has her own health issues and doesn't drive. I just want it to be over with already. I want to know what's happening and if there's something to really worry about. I know I will kick myself later (but shout for joy) if it all comes out negative, and I've been stressing myself out for nothing. But what if it's positive? I don't know how I'm going to do this financially, emotionally, physically, etc. Sorry for this to be so long, but I haven't really talked to anyone other than my mom about all of this, and I think the waiting is putting a strain on her too.

Thank you for reading.

Comments

  • elainetherese
    elainetherese Member Posts: 1,628
    edited August 2021
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    Hi TazMom!

    Unfortunately, Bi-Rads 5 does mean that you likely have breast cancer. However, don't give yourself breast cancer before you actually do. So, yes, you will have to wait for the results of the biopsy to be sure.

    Breast cancer is a scary diagnosis, but most of us are diagnosed in the early stages of the disease and have a good chance of living a long cancer-free life. Furthermore, treatments for early stage breast cancer have become more targeted to address the kind of breast cancer we have. For example, about 60% of early stage breast cancer patients have IDC, ER+/PR+/HER2-, which often doesn't require chemo as a treatment.

    You work full-time; what's your health insurance like? Even if it's not great, most cancer centers employ a nurse navigator who can help you with the financial aspects of the disease. There are also counselors who specialize in working with cancer patients so you wouldn't have to rely so much on your Mom for emotional support.

    Right now, though, it's important that you take things one step at a time, which means one appointment at a time. There's no sense in looking too far down the road right now. My treatment for triple positive breast cancer eventually took about two years, which seems daunting unless you break it down to its constituent parts.

    ((Hugs)) It will take awhile for you to know your situation. Try to find something to occupy your attention until you do.

  • waves2stars
    waves2stars Member Posts: 132
    edited August 2021
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    Hi, Elaine! This is a scary waiting period. My dx happened kind of like yours. I'm 47, and you would think loads of experience helping family and friends preparedme for tests and waiting, but it all went out the window. It's hard to be patient when you've gotten the “cancer" look at all the imaging places. On the positive, I've recently had two loved ones with different conditions biopsy with Birads 5, but on excision it was just infection. I keep hoping that's what will happen at my upcoming surgery, but I know it's not likely because of onco typing, receptors, etc.

    Importantly, you haven't had your core biopsy, yet. Maybe try to think of this as a way for you to learn about dx process for in case your friends or family ever go through it themselves. Pretend you're curious for a loved one instead of scared for yourself. For me, I kept trying to focus on how cool the centers were, how interesting the technicians were, how they were kind, how innovation helps people. But from biopsyday until I got the results four days later it was hard to be present in the moment. I personally know it's crazy and scary, but try to give yourself the gift of normalcy until the biopsy. You will be glad you did no matter the results.

  • moderators
    moderators Posts: 8,219
    edited August 2021
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    Hi TazMom,

    We're so sorry you find yourself here, we know the waiting and worrying is so hard. Please keep us posted on what you learn, we're here for you.

    The Mods

  • LivinLife
    LivinLife Member Posts: 301
    edited August 2021
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    Glad you found us TazMom! I agree that a BIRADS 5 rating is more likely than not to be cancer though someone has to fall in the small percent that comes back benign. The waiting for all of this is soooo difficult and you're already aware of that. If indeed you end up with cancer then know this is a great site with much support and information that will help you get through. Hopefully you have some good supports at home. Do what you can to keep yourself distracted while you're waiting though that is not easy.... Please keep us posted..... Sending support and gentle hugs!

  • TazMom
    TazMom Member Posts: 11
    edited August 2021
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    Elaine,

    I have an Aetna HMO for insurance. I've never needed anything more than the occasional MD appt and physicals. Hardly ever needed RX's for anything more than the usual infections. I never felt the need to pay the extra money for a PPO and HMO's have always provided what I needed in the past. I don't know what my insurance will cover, but I figure I'll have that conversation with them when (if) the time comes.

    My monetary concern wasn't so much with the cancer treatment, but not being able to work. I have bills to pay and can't afford to be out of work and I've used up most of my PTO for the year. I was looking into short term disability, but then I can't work at all. It's frustrating from a working stand point because I have so much to do at work, I can't afford to be out and fall behind. On the other hand, working part time will at least keep me from falling too far behind, but won't be enough to pay the bills. I am single with no kids, so I don't have any other income but my own. My mom, aunt, and I all live in the house my grandparents left so I don't have to worry about not having a roof over my head, but that's it. My mom has her own bills to pay and works part time too (despite her health issues), so she's not in a position to financially help me (not that I would ever ask her to).

    Tomorrow are the biopsies. I have no idea what to expect there. I have a core for the left and stereotactic for the right. I've arranged for a friend to pick me up tomorrow after my appointments should I not feel up to driving home. Fortunately I only live about 5-10 min from where the biopsies are being done, so I don't think I'll have too much trouble. I've heard ice will be my friend tomorrow, so I'm preparing for that.

    I'm just really not good with this waiting game and yet I'm forced into it. I'm so beyond out of my comfort zone and feel like I have zero control.

    Thank you all for your responses, positive words, and encouragement. It really means so much to me.

  • sunshine99
    sunshine99 Member Posts: 2,652
    edited August 2021
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    TaxzMom, I'm hoping for a good result for you tomorrow. Ice will, indeed, be your friend. If you can get the ice packs from CVS that look like little gel peas, I think you will like them. I've used them in the past. They're small, they conform easily to the area and can easily be re-frozen. They'll probably send you home with a small ice/cold pack. Do you have some Tylenol to help with any discomfort?

    Warm regards,

    Carol

  • elainetherese
    elainetherese Member Posts: 1,628
    edited August 2021
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    TazMom,

    IF you have cancer, I wouldn't assume that cancer treatment would interfere with your job responsibilities. I was able to work through chemo, radiation, and targeted therapy, though not everyone can do that. Also, I went back to work the day after my lumpectomy (again, not everyone can do this). My boss was very helpful; I could work at home three days a week and I was able to relinquish some committee responsibilities. Hopefully, your employer would also be understanding.

    I don't remember much about my biopsy it was so long ago. For me, it wasn't that traumatic I guess.

    ((Hugs)) Hoping it isn't cancer.

  • TazMom
    TazMom Member Posts: 11
    edited August 2021
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    Sorry I haven't posted in a while. I had the biopsies done last Tuesday and was scheduled for a telemed follow up appt with my doctor today, but got a call this morning letting me know that they haven't gotten the results back yet, so we had to reschedule. Now I have to wait until 9/8/21 for my follow up with the doc. This is so frustrating! They said they'd call me before then if they got the results back sooner and it showed anything abnormal. So, I guess if I don't hear from them between now and then, then I should have nothing to worry about. In the meantime, I've become a nervous wreck basket case. How long does it normally take to get biopsy results back. My doctor seemed to think 5 days was enough which is why she scheduled the follow up for today. The imaging center had mixed messages however. Their aftercare paperwork said 3-5 days, but the techs working on my stereo biopsy said it was more like 5-10. I'm really not doing well with this waiting game and have discovered that patience is most definitely not one of my virtues. Is this a normal timeframe for results? Is it a good omen if it takes longer for results? With a Birads 5, it's been really hard to try thinking positive.

  • ctmbsikia
    ctmbsikia Member Posts: 757
    edited August 2021
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    So sorry it's taking a while for your results. So annoying!!! I have been fortunate that where I am I have biopsy results in about 24 hours. Since you have the portal, they may get posted there before your doc sees them and calls you. Unless you prefer to hear from the doc, than don't stalk your email like I do!

    You story was similar to mine although I was 56 having first mammogram ever. I too discovered my own lump, called and got the change order for the diagnostic, when I went in I said to the tech, watch them find something on the right, and sure enough, more pics, and another biopsy. Actually 2 on that side. It is really a whirlwind in the beginning. Still hoping you get good news, and if you don't we will be here for you. Good luck!

  • TazMom
    TazMom Member Posts: 11
    edited August 2021
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    Thank you ctmbsikia! I actually have been stalking the portals, or at least trying to. If I didn't look at the imaging portal, I wouldn't have gotten the actual radiologist report that gave the specs. What they send you in the mail is a joke, but I suppose it's to help prevent you from going crazy. My doctor didn't say much since I had already scheduled the biopsies by the time I talked to her. I've been trying to find out what lab they sent the samples to in the hopes I could get answers from them, but so far no luck there. I have people saying it's good that it's taking so long, that must mean there's nothing wrong. My aunt is "positive" it'll be negative. I'm afraid of getting my hopes, only to be devastated by the results. I just wish I knew if it is or isn't. Yes, I'll have to wait for all the other stuff to follow, but at least I'll know what I'm dealing with.

  • LivinLife
    LivinLife Member Posts: 301
    edited August 2021
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    It does seem long to have to wait longer than a week though I know they often say up to 10 days. I had to wait a week though that was b/c my GYN was on vacation. They actually had him call me from home while he was on vacation after 7 days! He actually left me his cell phone number in a voicemail so I knew there was an issue and there was..... Had he not been on vacation I bet I would've heard a couple days sooner....

  • Valmam63
    Valmam63 Member Posts: 1
    edited August 2021
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    Hi Everyone-I had my DMX two weeks ago today. Praying the plastic surgeon will remove my drains today! I am now on to Step 2 which is awaiting the Oncotype results. Is there anyone out there who has/had similar stats? I'd like to hear what your treatment plan was. I'm very stressed about having chemo. I'm a teacher and I can't imagine having to teach in a Covid-filled environment while dealing with the stress of admin demanding we get our students up to grade level when they've been out of school for over a year. That stress alone minus the chemo is hard enough. Thanks for any comments or advice!

  • vidal1993
    vidal1993 Member Posts: 60
    edited October 2021
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    Hi Everyone. In June 2019, my wife was simultaneously diagnosed with Stage 2A breast cancer and thyroid cancer. After two surgeries, chemotherapy and radiation therapy, we thought we had this beat. She is taking Tamoxifen now and a number of other medications as she is Type II diabetic.

    We found out yesterday that an x-ray found a tiny nodule in her lung and she is going to be booked for a CT scan for more investigations. Here we go again.

    Will wait for the test results.

  • sunshine99
    sunshine99 Member Posts: 2,652
    edited October 2021
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    I'm sorry, Vidal. I know this is a scary time. Keep us updated when you feel like it.

    Carol

  • vidal1993
    vidal1993 Member Posts: 60
    edited October 2021
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    Thank you Sunshine 99 for your reply. Its very much appreciated.

    The waiting of course is terrible. I'm putting on a brave face but our girls sense something is amiss. We had a good day yesterday and all went to the park for a picnic. My wife is not very open about it but I know she is frightened and didn't sleep much last night.

    The tests will take place this week.

  • LivinLife
    LivinLife Member Posts: 301
    edited October 2021
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    Wishing you and your family well with all you're dealing with. Lung nodules are fairly common.... I have two that showed no change after several months so they no longer monitor. I realize with your wife's two other cancers there is a greater risk for malignancy. Hoping that is not the case though.... Sending support to all of you....

  • vidal1993
    vidal1993 Member Posts: 60
    edited October 2021
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    Thank you Livin Life. I am a worrywart by nature, so its comforting to hear it may be nothing at all to fret about.

    She's so frustrated after going through all this treatment all during COVID. We were all hoping our lives would be getting back to normal.

  • alicebastable
    alicebastable Member Posts: 1,945
    edited October 2021
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    vidal1993, I hope this reassures you: I had breast cancer and kidney cancer at the same time, with a lumpectomy in July of 2018 and a nephrectomy that September, before I started radiation. I have nodules in my left lung (BC side) but my oncologist assures me that most people have lung crud, more as we get older, and it's only an issue if they start growing. She piggybacks an annual chest CT onto the abdominal one my urologist orders.

  • vidal1993
    vidal1993 Member Posts: 60
    edited October 2021
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    Thank you Alice Bastable. This is reassuring as we go through the week. I am hopeful it is nothing but wish there was nothing there at all.

  • edwards750
    edwards750 Member Posts: 1,568
    edited October 2021
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    Vidal - I second what Alice said. I was DX with lung nodules too years ago. I didn’t freak out but the PA who saw them on my chest X-ray did. She thought it could be scar tissue too. She wanted me to go back to the cancer clinic and see my oncologist like ASAP. I told her I would wait for the radiologist’s report. She said he would agree with her. He didn’t. He said my X-ray was normal. Lung nodules are very common. Try not to worry. Best of luck.

    Diane

  • vidal1993
    vidal1993 Member Posts: 60
    edited October 2021
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    Thank you Diane. This is reassuring. Her CT scan is now more than 1 month away due to a COVID backlog. I was on the phone today trying to speed things up to no avail. My wife suffered from anxiety even before her diagnosis so you can imagine how she and we all feel right now. Of course, no point to worrying.

  • sunshine99
    sunshine99 Member Posts: 2,652
    edited October 2021
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    Vidal, does your hospital have a "wait list" option? I have the option of getting on a wait-list for an earlier appointment should one become available.

    I'm sorry you're having to wait. I know this hard on both of you.

    Carol

  • vidal1993
    vidal1993 Member Posts: 60
    edited October 2021
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    Thanks Sunshine 99 for your reply. Unfortunately, it does not. I have asked my family doctor to try to speed things up but to no avail. I understand these nodules are fairly common, so hopefully there is nothing to worry about. But after all we've been through one can't help but be concerned. But a month seems like an awfully long time to wait.

  • CarinaWarrior
    CarinaWarrior Member Posts: 1
    edited October 2021
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    Hello all! I am 48 and although I was screening yearly since 35 and then every six months in my early 40's.....its been 5 years since my last screening. I had mammo and sono on Monday and was scheduled for 3 Sono guided, needle biopsies (one on my right and two on right) on Wednesday. My OBGYN called me yesterday to tell me that although labs will not be in until Monday, it appears that the one on my right breast, by my armpit is 95% malignant. The phone conversation felt surreal. My husband was working from home and once off the phone went over to tell him the news and still cannot believe it. Have to wait until Monday for lab and diagnosis. I spent the day crying on and off and although my husband attempted to remain calm, I saw him walk into the bathroom today to cry. I didn't say anything because I know we are each dealing with it differently. I have a 22 year old son with high functioning Autism who lives at home and a 19 year who is away at college in FLorida (we live in NY). Any guidance about telling the one who is away would be greatly appreciated. Many thanks. Bless us all!

  • LivinLife
    LivinLife Member Posts: 301
    edited October 2021
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    Hi Carina - just want to send support! I don't necessarily have advice on how to tell your son in Florida... Will he be home for Thanksgiving? That is still a ways away though it may also be helpful to have more concrete information (actual pathology and info from meeting with a surgeon, etc) prior to that. If it turns out to be DCIS that would be less worry for him than if it is IDC, ILC, etc. I was also thinking about it possibly being easier to talk with him in person versus phone, facetime, etc. Please let us know when the pathology comes back and specifics of that (type, Grade, size, ER/PR%....). We will be able to better respond to concrete info when you have that.... Hang in there!

  • alicebastable
    alicebastable Member Posts: 1,945
    edited October 2021
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    Carina, I'm sorry you're going through this. It would help if you'd start your own thread so more people will see it.

  • rah2464
    rah2464 Member Posts: 1,192
    edited October 2021
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    Carina so sorry you are facing this. It will take a little while to gather the information necessary to determine a treatment path, and this can be the most stressful time. Vent here as you need to, ask questions, but know we all understand how this feels and we wish you well. We will walk through this with you.